Ask Your Preacher

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Does Onan Count?

Friday, May 01, 2015

 

Is masturbation a sin?

Sincerely, Brave Enough To Ask

Dear Brave Enough To Ask,

Self-stimulation is never specifically condemned or even mentioned in the Bible, but that doesn’t make it right.  There is only one example that people often use of masturbation in the Bible (Gen 38:9), but that was not really masturbation.  The example of Onan still doesn’t tell us much about the subject because he was rebuked, not for the act of masturbation, but for having sex with his brother’s wife, and then spilling his seed on the ground in order to avoid raising children up for his brother (which God had commanded him to do).

I think your question demands two separate answers.

The first question would be “What does the Bible say?”, since we are providing Bible answers to Bible questions. The answer to this question is, “The Bible says nothing about it.”

The second question would be, “Are there any other Bible teachings that would make it wrong?”.  Masturbation is the act of stimulating one's self sexually without the use of a partner.  The sexual realm was not designed for the individual, but for two committed lifelong partners (1 Cor 7:4-5).  Many marriages have been ruined because one or the other spouse seeks sexual satisfaction apart from their marital partner.   We should be very wary of any situation where we are attempting to find satisfaction outside of the pattern the Lord has designed.

Furthermore, self-stimulation is almost always connected to mental (i.e. lustful thoughts) and visual (i.e. pornography) fantasizing about the opposite gender.  God is very clear in condemning that sort of behavior (Matt 5:28).

The practical problem that generally evokes this question is with a young man who has been unable to find a godly wife.  His hormones are going wild, which is according to nature.   Now what does such a young man do?  There are two things that must be avoided at all costs.  First, he must not lust after a specific woman because that is specifically forbidden in God’s word.  Secondly, he must avoid pornography at all costs.  This always demands lust for a specific woman.  Pornography has proven to cause all kinds of sexual problems, not only while a person is doing it but also later in life.   Realistically, with those two things in mind, a young man doesn't have much likelihood of masturbating without sinning.  It is the overconfident youth that thinks "others would sin, but not me".

In due time, Lord willing, young men will be blessed with godly wives, and until then self-control is their duty in the eyes of God.

 

Day 88 - Mark 16

Thursday, April 30, 2015

5 minutes a day 5 days a week All the New Testament in a year

The Purpose Driven Church

Thursday, April 30, 2015

What is the mission of the Church?  I know we can look at what the Church does or does not do in the New Testament, but are there specific verses that point to exactly what the Church should be doing?

Sincerely, Working It Out

Dear Working It Out,

The clearest verse on the subject of the church’s purpose is in the book of Ephesians. Eph 4:12-16 points out that the church was designed, so that the saints would be ‘perfected’, for the ‘work of the ministry’, and for the ‘edifying (building up) of the body of Christ’.

The church of the New Testament is supposed to help prepare christians to be better christians by filling their minds with God’s Word. We see many examples of the church being busy with this kind of teaching and learning (Acts 2:42, Col 3:16). This is how christians are perfected (Col 1:28).

The church is also to be busy about the ‘work of ministry’ – preaching to the lost. Christ said He came to save sinners (1 Tim 1:15). One of His last commands to His apostles was to preach to the lost (Matt 28:18-20). Every congregation must be actively attempting to teach the Word of God to those who don’t understand it.

After preaching to the lost and teaching the saved, the only other work that we see an example of is caring for needy christians. Paul told Timothy there was a time to help out poor widowed christians (1 Tim 5:9-10). We also see the church in Jerusalem doing this (Acts 4:34-35).

The reality is that a local congregation’s work has always been very simple:

  1. Teach the saved.
  2. Preach to the lost.
  3. When necessary, care for needy christians.

Day 87 - Mark 15

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

5 minutes a day 5 days a week All the New Testament in a year

What the Devil Don't Know Will Hurt Him

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

I have a question about the devil. I was wondering whether or not he knew of God's plan for salvation beforehand or if he thought he was victorious when Jesus died on the cross.  I heard somebody talking about this once; they said Satan believed that he had won when Jesus died on the cross.  I was just wondering if and where the verse was that stated this because I don't want to believe it if I can't find it.

Sincerely, Devilishly Curious

Dear Devilishly Curious,

There is no specific verse that states the devil didn’t know what was going to happen when Christ died on the cross – but there is some really good circumstantial evidence that he didn’t see it coming.

God says that the angels didn’t know what was going to happen when Jesus went to the cross (1 Pet 1:11-12). If the angels didn’t know, I doubt the devil did either.

Another thing is that the devil isn’t stupid. Evil?  Yes.  Stupid?  No. Just read the account of Christ’s temptation by the devil in Luke 4, and you can see how wiley and clever he can be. If he had known that he was causing his own demise by attacking Jesus, he probably wouldn’t have done it. Even Jesus said that it wouldn’t make sense for Satan to attack himself (Mk 3:23).

Instead, we see that the devil had his hour of darkness (Lk 22:53), and in his attempt to destroy Jesus’ life (Lk 22:3), Peter’s faith (Lk 22:31), and the church’s future (Jhn 16:32), the devil was unwittingly defeated. Nope, I don’t think he ever saw it coming.

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